About Me

My name is Ryan Thorlakson. I love nothing more than programming and developing video games!

Update May 3 2012:
I am currently seeking new employment opportunities as a programmer in the video game industry.

I graduated from DigiPen Institute of Technology in 2006 as valedictorian of my graduating class. I earned a bachelor's degree in Real-Time Interactive Simulation (similar to Computer Science) and a minor in Mathematics. While at DigiPen, I created five full-featured game projects by working in small teams. You can find these projects on this site! While in school, I also created my own free browser-based persistent web game, Teragaia, on the side.

I then worked at Snowblind Studios on Justice League Heroes as an AI/gameplay programmer. I programmed most of the boss encounters in the game and made many other contributions to the project. After Justice League Heroes shipped, I worked on an action-RPG that eventually became War In the North. I created a modular, data-driven AI system from the ground up so that designers could create intricate AI behaviors without programmer help. I also worked on many different areas of gameplay. Eventually I became the acting gameplay programming lead.

Light's End
After I left Snowblind in 2008, it was time to really express my creativity. I spent seven months creating my own independent game called Light's End for Microsoft's Xbox 360. I published the game through Xbox Live Indie Games. I did all of the programming, design, music, dialog, and promotion. I contracted the raw artwork through an artist from deviantART. Other than the artist's help, I was the only developer on the project.

I started at Valve Software as a gameplay/AI programmer in 2009. I helped ship the popular zombie shooter Left 4 Dead 2, mainly fixing pathfinding and AI behavior bugs. I then worked on Dota 2 for two and a half years. I wrote the RTS pathfinding and AI behaviors from scratch and enhanced Valve's Hammer map creation tool to support authoring pathfinding grids. I also implemented persistent teams/clans and developed many gameplay systems and features by working closely with IceFrog.

Job Search
I am currently searching for a programming position in the video game industry. My ideal job would offer plenty of challenges and opportunities for creativity. It would allow me to create efficient and user-friendly systems to solve difficult problems. My greatest programming joy is designing and implementing complex, useful, and maintainable systems, and then responding to feedback from users or players.

Take a look around my site. You will find information about games I have worked on, actual game downloads, other game related projects, and code samples. Soon you will see first hand that I love all aspects of video game development. I hope you enjoy my site and projects as much as I enjoyed creating them!